Imágenes de página

former expences, as a number of favourite bargain-making part of society ; that is, corps had been given large extra allow- on thoughtful and considerate aen, who ances superior to what were given to the looked somewhat to futurity. It therevolunteers in general. The striking off fore appeared that the noble lord thought these extra allowances to favourite corps that the most valuable class was the of volunteers was a saving to the public of thoughtless, the imprudent, and those who between 3 and 400,000l. ; but the same were easy to be acted npon by the arts of gentlemen that so violently opposed this crimps, or the immediate temptation of a diminution of expence, now, when it came high bounty. In this opinion he must; to be a question about granting some in-however, beg leave to differ totally from crease of allowance to men who had devo- the noble lord: he considered the high ted their lives and impaired their constitu- bounties both injurious to the men, who tions in the service of ibeir country, wished received them for the purposes of de to dole out that pittance with a niggardly bauchery, and still more injurious to the hand, and made it a matter of reproach discipline of the army. He also consiagainst him that he had brought forward dered, that nothing could be more desirable the measure. He should not, however, than to get into the army that thoughtful, fear the reproaches which he might meet considerate, and undebauched class of with on this score; but was willing to men, which the noble lord appeared to set come with the scroll of the objects and of so little value on. He therefore thought the expence, and appear before the tribu- the expence of the system was not more nal of the world and of posteriiy to answer than was necessary for the objects it had for their reproach. He would present it, in view, which were; first, to give an adewith the utmost confidence that it would quate reward and relief to those soldiers meet with their approbation; and it would that should be disabled or discharged, be the pride of bis life to suppose that he after having served their appointed time had been instrumental in increasing the of service; and, secondly, as a means comforts of ose to whom the nation was to bring a supply of the most valuable so much indebted. He should not envy men on the best terms. As to what the noble lord and the gentlemen on the had been stated, that the measure bad other side, if they could bring forward their failed, he must absolutely deny it. Since schemes and calculations to prove how our it had been in force, it had raised nearly brave soldiers could be started at a much double the number of men that had been cheaper rate than they couid be maintained. raised during a corresponding period of the The provisions given to the soldiers upon last year, and with a reduction of five their discharge, had not before been in- guineas in the bounty: so that when the creased since the time of Charles II. and expence of the system was talked of, it must when it was considered that money had be recollected, that it had already operated been so much depreciated in value since a reduction of five guineas in the bouorty, that period, he would ask, why were the and he hoped that it would proceed by a defenders of the country by land or by sea gradual reduction, to take away the bounto be the only class of those who serve ties altogether, and leave the advantages her who are to have no increase of allow- of the service as the principal inducement ance upon that account, or no share in the to entering into it. There was no reason, bounty of the nation? The calculation of however, why some condition might úot the amount of those sums was not of nearly be annexed to the grant, so that the men so much consequence as the great question, who received these advantages might be Whether it was too much to give for the forthcoming when their services were wantservices that were done : If it were allowed. In that case, it would not be neces. ed that the sum was not in itself too great, sary to look for a number of raw recruits it could not be fairly argued that the coun- when we wanted our armies to be increased. try was not in a state to be able to give its We might have soldiers constantly enrolled, brave defenders a fair and just reward for who could instantly be brougbi into the their services. In considering the class of ranks, when wanted, in the same manner men that would probably be induced to as the sailors in France had been kept enter into the army by those regulations, by the registry. As to the arguments of the noble lord began by a very odd and the noble lord, on the general inefficacy of whimsical sort of argument. He had said the plan, he thought that he might spare that this system would only operate on the himself the trouble of answering those observations at any length, by merely taking nent supply for the regular army. He away the foundation upon which they now thought that it had completely failed rested : he would shew that the basis of in every object it proposed; for if, from them was no better than the basis of his the addition which took place in the army argument respecting Buenos Ayres. He during the late administration of two years, had, in perfect conformity with the opinion there were to be deducted those men who of that great man (Mr. Fox), of whom he entered froin the Army of Reserve, and could never think without sentiments of the 13,000 men who entered from the mithe utmost kindness and respect, thought litia (which was only changing the existing it necessary, that, in the present situation force from one hand into the other), and if of the world, when we might look to a it were not also for allowing officers to raise state of warfare in which the country might corps for rauk, which was generally allowed have to contend for its safety and its ex- to be the very worst way of raising men, istence, its military means should be in the actual increase would be found to be creased. He did not mean a mere tempo- very small indeed. This last mode of rai. rary addition to our army, or a forcing the sing men, he certainly should not approve military means of the country beyond their of. Some of those measures might bave natural power, but a positive increase to been useful as mere temporary measures. those means and to that power. This was a They were like a dram given to the coundifference, that the noble lord had not percei-try, which for the moment might increase Fed, when he contrasted the strictures he had its power, but wbich would be followed by made on some of the military measures or greater languor and debility. The meahis predecessors, with the arguments that he sure which he proposed, had for its object had urged in support of the present system. not a mere temporary increase of numbers, lo those ștrictures be was only arguing on the but a permanent increase of the power and propriety or in propriety of what he concei- military means of the country. It was ved to be mere temporary measures, whose not a measure of that class which the noble object was to procure an immediate addi. lord seemed so much to approve of: his tion to the number of the army. The object was, system, however, which he had introduced, “Non fumum ex fulgore, sed ex fumo dare lucem;" was never stated by himn to have for its ob- at least as far as lay in his power. The ject any temporary addition, but as likely means that he had proposed for effecting to afford a permanent increase. He had this object were, first, to make the sereven not appeared so sanguine about its vice as desirable as possible to those who immediate operation, as many of those were embarked in it; and, secondly, to who supported it; and he would now let it be as generally known to the people say, that the operation of it hitherto bad as possible, what superior advantages and been much greater than he bad slated or comforts were in future to be given to calculated. In speaking of the Army of those who should enter into the army. But Reserve, he considered it as only a tempo- it hereafter, it should be judged necessary rary measure, and the event shewed it was to resort to any sort of compulsory meano more, for that measure died of itself, sures, even then the advantages of the but not until it had produced a considera- present system would be felt, and would ble temporary supply to the army. Of all make the compulsion much lighter; for it temporary measures which had been pro- could not be doubted, but that it would be posed, he certainly considered the Ariny much easier to procure substitutes, if the of Reserve to be the best, as it produced service was made desirable, than if it was above 40,000 men; but when it had done not. The measures already adopted were tbat, it could go no farther. The next mea- perfectly compatible with any measure that sure which was proposed, and which he it might herealter be necessary to adopt; considered as merely a teinporary measure, and, if even another Army of Reserve was the Additional Force act; and this were to be raised, the good effects of this was brought forward with such great pro- system would operate upon that, as well mise, that it was the principal ground of as upon any other compulsory mode that removing the former administration. It could be adopted. Whatever else parliahe bad made many strictures on this mea- ment might resolve to do, they would find sure, it was because it appeared to him the benefit of what was already done. It impossible that it could ever be the means must be in the recollection of the house, of obtaining what iç professedma perma- that he never stated the measure as likely YOL.Vlir.

2 K

to produce any powerful immediate effect But nowihey now could say,

" Here we in increasing the army, but he had consi- have it,” and tbis was what would afford dered it as a system which, beginning with inducement to others to enter the service. little, would constantly increase in its ope- The right hon. secretary then proceeded to ration, and, in time, materially increase state, that he could now speak much more the military strength and means of the positively as to the good effects of the meacountry. When he was charged with delay sure. It was rather whimsical, however, in the execution of the system, he would to hear the noble lord represent, that the &t least say, that if he was to be justly experiment had failed, because it had not charged with such delay, that fault was immediately produced a greater number of his and not the fault of the system. He men than it professed to raise, when it might say, as the man who used to sell was recollected that the noble lord had al. game when he was at college did, when ways contended, that the Additional Force told that his game smelt badly, “ It is act had not failed, although it produced not the birds," replied be, “ihat smell nothing near the number of men that it was bad, it is I that have a bad smell.” He calculated as likely to produce. It was should

say in the same manner, if he had calculated, that from the 1st of July, 1804, kept the ineasure too long unexecuted, the to the 1st of October, 1805, it was to tault must be personal to him, and not in have produced 40 or 50,000 men, besides the measure." If the measure had not al- the 15,000 that was necessary to supply the ready made greater progress in its opera- casualties : for this additional force was to tion, he supposed it must be in a great supply all the deficiencies in the army of remeasure owing to the upenlightened state serve and militia, the casualties of the army, of that part of the community on whom it and yield besides, an increase of 15,000 was to act. Although the members of that men to the army; but instead of doing house, and gentlemen of their class of life, this, it did not produce more than 15,000 might be perfectly well informed of all that men during the two years of that adıniniswas done in parliament, yet the great mass tration, which was a number not eren sufof the people knew very little about the ficient to supply the casualties. This, then matter. He would venture to say, that a indeed, was a complete failure, as it progreat majority of the people did not know ved itself to be utterly inadequate to the at this moment, who was first Lord of the object which was proposed.

He never, Treasury, or who was the Secretary at bowever, contended that it was impossiWar. This was proved to hinr by bis daily ble to raise men under it, for be knew that if receiving letters, upon the supposition that they were determined to raise men at ang he still held a situation which he had re- pecuniary expence, and at any expence of linquished many years ago. That the pro- the niorals of the people, the thing was to gress of the effects of this measure, there be done. If they chose to make the parishes fore, were slow, he admitted, and all be liable to penalties to the amount of 4 or thought it necessary to say on that point 500,0001, if they did not raise the men, was, that it was not so slow as he supposed by even giving 50 guineas a man for them, it would be. He considered, that part of certainly they must raise some men. If the operation of the bill had been retarded the parish officers could be induced to by the circumstance of the measure taking spend so much money, and to practise all effect at a time which was intermediate the corruption and arts of common crimps, between the payments made at Chelsea. in addition to the abuse of their own power When, upon the next payinent, the addi- as church-wardens and overseers of the tional allowances shall be actually received, poor, certainly there must be some men then it would be made much more gene- raised. The regular 'recruiting service rally known to the public than it was at pre-was, however, most materially injured by sent: they then would see that government the means taken to carry that bill into efwas in earnest in what it had promised, and fect; and if it had been possible for the would think much more of what they saw bill to have succeeded to the extent at first had taken place than they would of a mere calculated, after it had filled up the defiact of parliament. The pensioners were ciencies in the Army of Reserve and Milidispersed over the country; and though tià, it would after that have only yielded they might have heard of the intentions re- 9,000 men yearly, which would not have specting them, they might have said, supplied even the casualties.

H, there * What signifies your acts of parliament ?" fore, that bill had succeeded, it would

have been but a temporary measure. Be- the amount of the recruiting at bead-quarșides, it contained in itself the seeds of ters, which had been finally extinguished its own destruction. The great benefit of by the Parish bill, and of which no returns the present system was, that it would pro- bad been yet procured. He was not aware vide for the progressive supply of the army. of any other observation of the noble lord, This progression made him prefer it to any | to which it was at that time necessary for measure that would have a sudden or vio- him to advert. Many, he was sure, were lent operation, because the state of the worthy of remark, but other opportunities army was such, being 12,000 stronger than would occur for that purpose. As to the at the beginning of last year, as not to circumstance of the men being entitled of require such measures. For this state of right to the allowance, it had been thought the army, or the measures that had pro- proper that nsen, who had spent their duced it, he did not take any great credit lives and constitutions in the service of to bimself. The statements of the noble their country, should not be left to the lord appeared to him to be founded on fal- caprice of commanding officers, as to their lacious grounds respecting the success of title to their reward, after a service of 14 the recruiting during the last year. He or 21 years. The noble lord had observed, had bimself a staternent to inake on this that a man who might be disabled after two head, which was founded on accounts that or three years service, would be entitled to the house could rely upon. They were his pension, but if disabled in the service, the accounts from the oflice of the Inspector- he would ask why he should not ? He in, General of Recruits. All the accounts of vited the hon, gentlemen opposite to go this office were kept with the greatest regu- into the proofs of the statements be had larity, and all the business of the recruit- made, because the more they should be ing of the kingdom was carried on through enquired into, the more they would be this office, and by the Inspectors of Re- found correct. cruits in the different districts. By a com- Mr. Perceval said, that there were some parison of these accounts with the ac- remarks made by the right hon. gent. ta counts of correspondent periods of former which he should slightly advert, others to years, he found that there was a growing which he should reply more fully, and increase, small at first, but at length some matters he should notice that had not amounting to an excess in the proportion been treated as fit for the attention of the of two to one. If the noble lord should obcommittee. The observations of his poble ject to this comparison, because the Parish friend (lord Castlereagh) seemed to baye bill obstructed the recruiting in a former been wholly misunderstood; the anachro. year, then that would be an admission that nism complained of had nothing to do he had never before made, it having al- with the argument; the charge against ways been stated that the Parish bill did ministers was distinctly this, that they had pot interfere with the ordinary recruiting. taken no means whatever to secure the ac. If the noble lord should not so object, then quisition of Bucnos Ayres until they had the conclusion was inevitable that the pre- intelligence of its re-capture. The right sent was the better mode of recruiting. bon. gent. affirmed that there was hardly But, then, the bon, gentlemen opposite any thing more fallacious than calculation. might say, that this mode of recruiting This opinion he (Mr. Perceval) supposed did not produce as much as the other two, was the reason why he never indulged the and he should not say that it had. But it bouse with bis estimates ; and from the produced in the proportion of two to one same motive it was that the noble lord's more than the ordinary recruiting, and computations remained uncontradicted; the desertion was considerably diminished. or perhaps it might be, that the arithmeti. Besides, under the Parish bill, men above cal view given of the subject was unan. the standard age, and three inches below swerable, and the right bon. gent. pruthe standard size, were received. At pre-dently declined making an attempt ia sent, no men would be received under 5 which he could uot succeed. The misfor, feet 5 inches. The increase in the recruit- tune was, that when the right bon. gent. ing had been progressive, but in the last did try his hand at calculation, he was alfew weeks it bad exceeded the produce of ways erroneous. Such was his representhe Parish bill and ordinary recruiting in tation with regard to the bounty, which the correspondent period of last year. be said had been reduced 5 guineas. The There was to that advantage to be added, truth was, that ou the former plan, for 21 guineas a man was procured for life, and which were to be collected from the papers on the present, for 171. a service of only on the table. He might have an accurate 7 years was obtained. Thus for the trifling account in his pocket, but it would have difference of 51. 1s. three times the dura- been more respectful if he had submitted it tion of service was acquired. The right to the examination of the house. The right hon. gent. told the committee that the De- hon. the secretary at war had said, that the fence act had failed in every particular; new mode of recruiting could not be deemyet the fact was, that at the very time it was ed to have commenced until Oct. and Nov. abrogated, it supplied annually 15,000 men. last, and in the former month 1156, in the Now it was admitted that the measure latter 1064 men were obtained, or in the would produce men, yet the objection of total 2220. Such it appeared in the two the right hon. gent., which was yet ringing favoured months, and in the same of last in his (Mr. Perceval's) ears, before was, year no fewer men than 3103 had been acthat it would supply money, and not men. quired, being an excess of 883 men. Such Another concession was, much in the same were the advartages of this boasted system. style, directed to the Army of Reserve act: Yet it was not the fair way to govern the be (Mr. P.) could only understand this as estimate by the most favoured periods. In an offer of friendship to his right hon. Feb. of last year, 1282 were added, being friend wbo proposed it, and he would pot above 100 more than were produced by complain that any civility should be so the ordinary recruiting ; and by the other properly applied. The right hon. gent. mode which was described as suspended, was accustomed to assert, that no defence no fewer than 830 were supplied. In the was competent but the regular army, and next month the number was 1312, an exnot a moment should be lost in augment-cess of 200 upon the new way, and further ing it. The committee had now heard from from Mr. Pitt's bill 891; in April 1088, him, that these measures were abundantly and in May 1100; and these were four conducive to this object; but they had not months of last year, by the regular recruitlearnt from the same authority, why they ing under Mr. Pitt's bill, when tnore men were precipitately abandoned. So much were obtained than in the favoured months for the consistency of the right hon. gent. of the new mode; yet this was the scheme The right

hou. the secretary at war menti- by which double the supply was' stated to oned the Training bill, the situation of the be obtained, not indeed by the accounts on Volunteers, and the progress in the new the table of the house, but by other estimode of recruiting. On the first be observed mates, in the pocket of the right hun. gent, that nothing was to be said, and as the Thus on the Training bill nothing was to right hou. gent. (Mr. Windham) was un- be said; regarding the Volunteers, there luckily of the same opinion, nothing had was exposed what was worse than nothing; been said upon it. A measure surely upon and the last object, the recruiting, bad which nothing can be said, might certainly completely disappointed the expectations be denominated a failing project. So lit- of its supporters. The right hon. gent. tle had also been said on the condition of indulged himself in frequent appeals to the Volunteers, that the right hol). gent. the committee. It was true, that such might as well have been silent on that sub-addresses had a certain influence on candid ject also. It was asserted that there had minds; but he should recollect that these been only a trifling reduction in the num-expedients might be carried too far, and ber of the Volunteers, aud yet the compu- even to an extent that neither the house tation was professedly made, not from the nor the public would patiently bear. On effective returns, but from the nominal the present plan, the Chelsea allowance, establishment. How was it possible that which had so long been the reward of long the Volunteers should not be diminished, service and indigent merit, was to be given when those entering after the 24th of June to those not entitled to such reinuneration. last were to receive no pay at all? Under He (Mr. Perceval) was very apprehensive this circumstance a deficiency was a neces that such prodigality would be injurious to sary consequence; and the wisdom of mi- military discipline. He could not help lanisters had proposed to supply this by the menting that his majesty bad been advised Training bill, which it now appeared was to give directions, on the subject of the wholly inoperative. Then, as to the re- recruiting, contrary to the established law cruiting, the facts stated by the right hon. of the land. The cavalry were now raised gent. were entirely different from those for 7 years, and the artillery for five years,

« AnteriorContinuar »